How to set up an Embossing Mask File

Just like the other mask files, the embossing mask is set up the same exact way. The only difference is, there will be a recession on the rear side if you’re embossing on a 16pt card stock. To avoid the recession caused by the embossing on the rear side, we advise that you chose the 32pt or 48pt card stock. The thicker card stocks are layered, which would hide this recession. Please note that when embossing with a layered stock, a slight recession still may show through as this is a normal process during the application of the two stocks.

See below for our short tutorial on how to set up an Embossing mask file.

Step One: Getting you started

In this example, we will be doing a ‘blind’ embossing effect on a 16pt card stock. Like the other print options, embossing can shift up to 1/16″. You can also emboss foils as well as spot uv (except for raised spot uv and speckled spot uv). You can also emboss a certain print area located in your design. With the example below, we will show you how an embossing mask should look like. The example will also show what the embossing option looks like on 16pt card with the back being recessed.


We DO NOT recommend that you do a blind embossing on dark colors while using silk lamination as cracking/peeling is noticeable.

Step Two: Establishing Your Mask

When setting up an embossing mask, it can take some creativity to create the perfect embossing effect to sync up with the design. Take a wood grain effect for example. You can also emboss different types of patterns for a certain look and feel. Below we start with the print files without the embossing shape shown.

Front Print File

Back Print File

Step Three: Don’t Forget the Recession!

Designing an embossed business card, designers sometimes naturally forget that the back side is recessed (pressed in, from the embossing effect). With that said, that can really throw off your design right off the bat. It’s important that you’re aware of the recession caused by the embossing which only applies to 16pt card stocks. Again, like all mask files, make sure the embossing mask has a white background with the desired selection filled with 100% K (black ink).

Front Embossing Mask

Back Recession


Step Four: Confirm Your Mask Placement

When your order is placed, we send out a digital proof displaying the placement of your mask files. These mask files are highlighted in a certain color to determine exactly where the mask file will be placed within the design of the business card. Below, we have lined up the embossing mask file with both front and back print. As this card is embossed, the back is automatically recessed which no mask file is required for the back (applies to 16pt only).


Front Sample (Print & Embossing Mask)

Back Sample (Print & Recession from Embossing)

The Finished Product